The Hybrid Work Honeymoon is Over
October 2021
By Nico Hohman

Recently, the editorial team at LinkedIn put out this prompt with the following story:

"Is hybrid work really the future, or will the honeymoon period end? More than 18 months into the pandemic, corporate offices remain at widely divergent levels of reopening, split around vaccination rates and "varying risk appetites" among residents in big cities across the country. With office openings so fragmented, hybrid work seems here to stay — at least in the short-term. Yet, experts are split on whether the hybrid model is here for good. While workers initially celebrated the freedom it offers, many are now confronting some issues as they transfer partially back to some in-person office activities."

The hybrid work honeymoon may be over, but that's a good thing.

When it comes to the most talked about trends in the workplace like working from home, the future of work, and hybrid working situations, I believe that these aren’t just trends. I believe they are the continued reality for plenty of workers today and into the future. Most white-collar, knowledge-based workers will absolutely see some sort of permanent shift in the way they work when compared to working conditions prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hybrid work has gone from the single life to the married life, and that’s a good thing.

Yes, I will wholeheartedly admit that some of the best working conditions and the most productive working groups happen together in person. There’s no substitution for sitting across the table from a negotiating partner and staring them in the eye. There’s no way a virtual committee meeting can completely replace the intent of an in-person task force.

But, the most important thing to care about is the whole person showing up to work versus getting your whole workforce to show up.

That whole person includes not just the person that sits in front of the computer monitor all day or the person that swings the hammer all day. The whole person includes the worker who needs to stay home because she as an autoimmune disease. The whole person includes the employee who needs to take off work early to pick up the kids from school. The whole person includes the manager who needs to visit his ailing father in the nursing home.

We can still be productive and collaborative and insightful over virtual calls and meetings if we choose to be so. We might not like it if we feel forced to do so, but the reality is that it needs to be done.

The honeymoon of hybrid work is definitely over. But, just like an actual honeymoon, when the trip is over you don’t get to go back to single life. You have a new normal. You’re married now. And married life comes with a different rule book.

It looks like we’ll be married to hybrid work for a long time.

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Nico Hohman, the Founder of Eaactive Leadership, is an award-winning leadership, real estate, and construction consultant with an extensive background in business development, sales training, and change management roles throughout the United States. Nico serves business executives and aspiring leaders on how to sustainably grow their organizations through better use of their physical and knowledge-based assets. Nico's focus is to help others be leaders in their communities, guide their followers, and make better decisions using the findings of their personalized Eaactive Leadership Style Assessment (ELSA). You can connect with Nico on LinkedIn and get the latest daily updates on the Assorted Questions & Such blog.

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